IWSG: Making time to write


The IWSG question this month is "How do you find time in your busy day to write?" This one hits me where I'm vulnerable.

Let me be clear: I'm not vulnerable because my days are so jam-packed I can't make time. I feel guilty when I see this question precisely because my days are NOT. Unlike many of my fellow writers, I don't hold down a full-time job (though I do hold a few part-time jobs, I still have more free time than most people). My kids are now pretty much grown. The oldest is out of the house, the younger is in his last year of high school.

I'm fresh out of excuses.

And still, I often seem to run out of time before I get to my writing (witness Monday: I didn't intentionally not post because it was Labor Day. I didn't post because I failed to prepare a post, and by the time I realized it, I was too tired to care). I'm forced to conclude that no matter how much time you do or don't have at your disposal, you have to consciously pick and defend your time to write, and it takes discipline.

The good news is, I've gotten back to work since everyone is back in school. I always do better when the house is empty (and what will I do in 2 years when the spouse retires? Build a shed in the back yard and "commute" to work?). But stuff interferes even so. Today, my sacred morning writing time was eaten up by a meeting and a breakfast party with a bunch of the old PTA moms. And those things are important, so I can't and don't want to say "no."

And yet: if we don't guard our writing time with a fierce intensity, however much or little we have of it, we'll soon have none. The best I can do is remind myself to treat it like any other job: "Sorry, I can't do that at that time. I have to work" is a line to practice. For me, it's best if I'm consistent with morning being my time to write. For some people who have younger kids and full-time jobs, it may be a matter of looking at each day and figuring out where you can get 20 minutes. Either way, you have to guard that time.

The final time-suck is the internet, and social media. I may well soon be investing in that amazing writer's tool, a timer that shuts off the internet for a set period of time. Sounds like a god-send to me!

So how are you doing at carving out and guarding your work time? Do you put people off so you can have your time, or let the demands of work and family eat it all up?

Reading or writing: you make your time where you find it. (The spouse is reading, the offspring is writing a novella. After a day's hiking).

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2016
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